Sydney’s CBD used to be all about business. Come 5.30pm, it was exit, stage left. But things have changed downtown, especially on the weekends. Here are 5 reasons to stay that little bit longer.
1. The vibe
Never assume the Sydney CBD is always all business; a surprisingly wide array of pleasures await just one more day away. It’s Friday in Sydney. Business is all wrapped up. Time to check out of your hotel and head home, right?
But there’s something about the tone of the city that’s changing as the afternoon sun lengthens over the harbour and offices empty out. The beat of the place is quickening. Want to know what you can get up to if you hang around and see what the weekend brings?
2. Taking slow bites out of the weekend
During the week, caffeine-loving workers can turn a CBD cafe to mayhem, but the weekend is a much more relaxed affair.
Purveyor of fine Italian produce, Fratelli Fresh, is serving not only a great cup of Lavazza every weekend morning from 9am in the shopping mecca of Westfield Sydney, but can change your order to a morning Bloody Mary or Mimosa if you prefer. Breakfast dishes such as ricotta and blueberry pancakes or baked eggs in sugo are too good to rush.
Another weekend staple in Sydney comes in fragrant form, as yum cha is served Hong Kong-style as breakfast from 9am at Zilver, further down in Chinatown.
Alternatively, Graze – at the front of the Museum of Contemporary Art, enjoying that unbeatable vista across the harbour from Circular Quay – is also open for brunch on the weekends.
Forget those all-too-quick weekday scrambles, this is how you start a real Sydney day.
3. Shop ‘til you… nap
Come the weekend, Sydney’s newly refurbished Pitt Street Mall is further transformed from a sea of suits to more leisurely pursuits.
From the intricate stained glass and tiles of the Victorian-style Strand Arcade to the gigantic glass and steel edifice of Westfield Sydney; and from the ivory-tickling pianist in David Jones’ elegant flagship store on Elizabeth Street to the newer imports on the scene (H&M, Sephora, Forever 21), there is room to browse, try, savour and perhaps give your credit card a little workout.
It’s not far to carry those bags to your hotel, and there’s no reason why a small siesta isn’t in order, either.
4. High tea and high times
Yawn. Stretch. Have a cup of tea… or a glass of Laurent Perrier Champagne, and as many rainbow-hued macarons, warm, cream-laden scones and chocolate-dipped treats as your heart desires at Swissôtel’s buffet high tea. It’s reason enough to stay on a little longer, since it only runs from Friday through Sunday.
Plus, a champers in the afternoon lends itself beautifully to a session raiding your new purchases back in your room, picking out something fabulous to wear and getting ready for the evening.
5. Small (and not-so-small) bars
Small bars are still a relatively recent addition to the Sydney scene: young, fresh and having a ball in the city’s CBD.
Check out the sewing-obsessed Stitch, cosy Grandma’s Bar or Uncle Ming’s, complete with Chinese teapot cocktails, while Mojo Record Bar is literally out the back of a record store, so you’d better believe the music’s good.
On Saturday nights, though, go big – the Ibiza club Pacha takes over the Ivy on George Street with circus performers hanging from the ceilings, burlesque ladies waving their feathery fans and big-name DJs filling the joint with beats and a beaming, dancing crowd. Thank goodness you’ve got a late check-out tomorrow.
More information: Looking for somewhere to stay in the CBD? Check out Swissôtel Sydney